The National Gallery in Ljubljana will mark the first century of its existence with a series of art and music events this week. The main celebration will be held on Wednesday evening, when President Borut Pahor presents the museum with the Golden Order of Merit.
The festivities will commence on Tuesday, the day when the National Gallery Association was founded 100 years ago.
In the morning, a monograph by art historian Jure Mikuž on the life of artist Ivana Kobilca (1861-1926) will be presented, while in the evening admission-free guided tours for adults and families will be organised.
Visitors will be able to admire art works while listening to concerts by Art Music Orchestra at the entrance lobby and Trio Amadeo at the Honorary Hall.
An exhibition by students of the Ljubljana Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television will open in the evening before a giant cake is served to the visitors.
On Wednesday evening, President Pahor will present the museum with the Golden Order of Merit at a special ceremony before the premiere of the musical work Stories of the Paintings performed by the Slovenian Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra and written by Leon Firšt specially for the occasion.
On Thursday afternoon, poet Andrej Rozman – Roza will read his poems about some of the iconic paintings from the National Gallery’s permanent collection at the launch of his new book Poems From the Gallery.
In the evening, visitors will be invited to draw the paintings and sculptures at the museum.
On Friday evening, actress Polona Vetrih will deliver a monologue entitled Ivana: Images from the Life of Painter Ivana Kobilca.
The Volčji Potok Arboretum, which this year features blow-ups of paintings from the Gallery to mark it 100th anniversary, will host a open-air painting workshop on Saturday.
On Sunday guided tours will be organised of the exhibition Posters of the National Gallery – 100 Years of Exhibitions and of the Ivana Kobilca exhibition about the author of two of the museum’s most popular paintings, Poletje (Summer) and Kofetarica (Coffeemadam).
The National Gallery Association was founded 18 September 1918 without an art fund or exhibition rooms. It took over the city’s art collection and complemented it with several own purchases to open an exhibition at the residential part of the Kresija palace in March 1920.
In June 1924, the association started renting the Jakopič Pavilion as a venue for occasional exhibitions, and in November 1925 it obtained the right to use most of the rooms of the Narodni Dom palace.
To mark its 10th anniversary, the association set up an exhibition of 230 paintings, 132 sculptures and 746 works of art on paper at Narodni Dom. In June 1933, it opened a permanent exhibition.
The National Gallery Association was dissolved in August 1945 and the National Gallery was founded as a state institution by decree on 1 June 1946.
In 1994, Narodni Dom was expanded with a new wing for temporary exhibitions and the European collection. In September 2001 a glass lobby was built to connect both parts.
Just before this year’s jubilee, the Narodni Dom palace was renovated, welcoming first visitors in January 2016.
The renovated and significantly expanded collection now covers the Slovenian art from the early 13th to the mid-20th century.